To expand the scope of the flagship LPG-for-cooking scheme, the government has decided to extend it to all ration-card holding households.
To expand the scope of the flagship LPG-for-cooking scheme, the government has decided to extend it to all ration-card holding households. An announcement to this effect is likely early this week.
The new beneficiaries will be those among holders of both ration cards and Aadhaar who will identify themselves as poor through self declaration, according to sources. Since there are 9.27 crore ration-card-holding households in the country, the proposed broadening of the scheme could potentially benefit over a crore households.
Launched in May 2016, the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) was initially aimed at providing clean cooking fuel to 5 crore women from households classified as eligible over a period of three years.
While the BPL list under Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC) 2011 was the main pool, criteria were laid out to exclude the relatively well-off.
A sum of Rs 8,000 crore was allocated for the scheme to start with. However, given the success of the scheme, finance minister Arun Jaitley announced in the last Budget to allocate an additional `4,800 crore and increased the target to 8 crore households. The revised target is expected to be achieved by 2020.
To cover a wider spectrum of households, the scheme has subsequently been opened to all Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe households, beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and Antyodaya Anna
Yojana, forest dwellers, “most backward classes”, tea garden and ex-tea garden tribes, and people residing in islands or river islands.
Till now, of the 5.8 crore connection released, 3.8 crore are beneficiaries from the SECC list and 2 crore from the other seven categories mentioned above. However, since the number of new applicants have tapered down, the government has decided to open up the scheme for all poor households.
The SECC beneficiary list for PMUY was prepared using 14 parametres for exclusion such as no member of the family should have a government job, the families owning irrigated land, etc. Beneficiaries from the other categories were identified on a self-declaration basis as well.
While the national average for LPG cylinder refills by PMUY beneficiaries is 3.5 per year, the overall average for LPG refill is 7. Almost 80% of beneficiaries have come back for at least one refill. The dropout rate (household that have never got LPG cylinders obtained under PMUY refilled) is around 20%.
According to latest data by Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell, the coverage of LPG in the country has reached 90% of the households.
The adoption of LPG has been most pronounced in the southern states and forested areas have seen less adaption given availability of free firewood.
Among states, while Gujarat, Bihar and Uttarakhand are among the top with more than 4 cylinder refills a year, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have witnessed less than three refills a year.
Under PMUY, the government bears a burden of Rs 1,600 per connection and almost an equal amount is borne by beneficiaries who either pay upfront or take a loan from the oil marketing companies. The loan is repaid by beneficiaries by letting go of the subsidy with each refill. However, to push the refill rate, OMCs earlier this year announced that they will defer loan recovery by six months for every existing as well as new beneficiaries.